Monday Superlatives

Kawhi Leonard, don't go to the Lakers

July 1, 2019
2019 NBA Finals - Game Six
Ezra Shaw

Kawhi, please don't do it. Don't go to L.A. and ruin the NBA. Here are six very good reasons.

1. You rule. You are the board man...the board man who gets paid. You're the dude who turned working-man humility into superstardom. The Lakers, on the other hand, suck. They are about glitz and glamour and wouldn't know a lunch pail if it starred in an overrated Oscar-winning movie. You are the antithesis of the Lakers.

2. Their coaching situation is an unmitigated disaster, and LeBron is going to make it worse because the only thing he loves than being extremely good at basketball is sabotaging his coaches. Their management is also hot garbage, and on the verge of mortgaging the future for nothing. That would be ideal! You shouldn't bail them out on their series of very bad decisions by letting them form a super-team. Speaking of....

3. You are the super team killer. You killed the Miami Heat in the NBA finals. You killed the Warriors in the NBA finals. You are the iceberg that sinks the Titanic. Don't become the Titanic, Kawhi. Stay frozen.

4. The NBA is awesome right now, and part of that awesomeness is how wide open everything seems. We have no idea who will win next year's title, and you can make a good argument for at least a half dozen teams. If you go to the Lakers with LeBron and Anthony Davis, that goes away. It was vaguely exciting when it happened with Durant and the Warriors, but look at the result: It stole the drama from the playoffs, and then Durant got hurt and left unhappy.

5. You can go to Brooklyn and electro-shock an entire franchise into prominence. The Nets have been something less than little brothers since they were in New Jersey, but the Knicks are so godawful that the basketball-loving people of NYC are dying to shift loyalties. If you end up in Brooklyn, you get all the benefits of living in a great city while also singlehandedly carrying a team to city-wide and national prominence. That's the Kawhi brand! You'd be the messiah!

6. There are three terrible driving cities in America: Dallas, Boston, and Los Angeles. Don't go to one of them unless you love highways.

The "We're Sorry For Exporting the Worst Possible Example of Our Product" Apology of the Week: America to England

Playing a two-game Yankees-Red Sox set in London seemed like a great idea, but there was always a potential pitfall—under the right circumstances, these two teams can play extremely long games. Unfortunately, the stars aligned perfectly and our mates in Merry Old England got the nightmare scenario on Saturday: An endless, grueling 17-13 blowout that lasted almost five hours, involved 16 pitchers, and just draggggggged. Plus, it was stupidly hot. Sunday wasn't much better: A second 12-8 blowout win for the Yankees, a four-hour run time, and more scorching weather. Not an ideal showcase!

Now, I've voiced my criticisms of soccer, but when the Brits sit down for their national sport, at least they know that it's going to be over in two hours, scintillating or dull. And if we're talking cricket, at least they get cucumber sandwiches and tea. This was some monstrous, ugly hybrid of the two, and all we can say is: Sorry, guys. It's not usually like this.

The "Wait a second, it's YOUR Fault" Apology Retraction of the Week: America, again, also to England

It turns out, a ton of pitchers on both teams advanced a theory that the "aerodynamics" or "air flow" was somehow off in the London Stadium, to the extent that dominant relievers like Zach Britton said he couldn't "snap off" his breaking pitches. He wasn't alone:

So there you have it: The London air is to blame, somehow. Physics don't work the same way across the pond, and every breaking ball becomes a fat, hanging changeup. If baseball had started in the U.K., all the games would be like this, and 170 years later they'd play an exhibition in America, and there'd be a bunch of British pitchers going "blimey, me ole curve dives like a bloody heron 'ere, it does! I'm chuffed, mate!" And the hitters would be crying about the American air. So I take back my previous apology, Brits: Your dumb air ruined our baseball.

I will miss this narrative.

British Baseball Fan of the year: This Bloke

What's a foul ball? Here's a great explanation from some British guy:

The Fabulous Athlete We Need In Our Lives...Of the Week: Megan Rapinoe

Looks, let's not get into politics. Let's just say that someone who is unapologetically (and sometimes hilariously) outspoken, but who delivers every time on the field, is a welcome addition to the American sports scene. FIFA is ridiculous about allowing auto-play goal videos on Twitter (you can see hers here and here if you want to get clicking), so instead, check out this excellent pose she struck after her first goal in the World Cup quarterfinals against France:

I've been on a Rapinoe Internet binge lately, and there's plenty to read about her "audacity," but what's really special about her is that she seems to have a strong moral center that precludes her from being quiet when she has the spotlight. Also, this quote from after the France win is pure gold: “Go gays. You can’t win a championship without gays on your team, it’s pretty much never been done before ever. Science, right there.”

Plus, never forget, she delivered the most important pass in the history of American women's soccer, and we were lucky enough to have Ian Darke on hand to call it:

The U.S. plays England next, on Tuesday, and even though we're definitely going to win, it will probably be less painful for the Brits than five hours of terrible baseball.

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